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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) – Movie Review

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movie poster


Written by: Patrick Massett, Simon West & John Zinman, based on a story by Michael Colleary & Mike Werb, based on the video game published by Eidos Interactive
Directed by: Simon West
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor, Chris Barrie, Jon Voight

My Advice: Wait for MST3K

Lara Croft (Jolie) is a badass. She whomps killer robots, she wields handguns from hell like nobody’s business, and she has huge…….tracts of land. She’s essentially Indiana Jones‘ lost sister. But her past comes back to haunt her, as clues her father (Jolie’s real life father, Voight) left for her to find come to light. You see, there’s a shadowy group of conspirators who have been waiting five thousand years for a conjunction of all nine planets as well as a solar eclipse. It’s at this time that an ancient device can be found and used for good…or EVIL. Moohoohahaha.

[ad#longpost]What a crime. The primary worry with this film was the casting. Could Jolie pull off a live action Lara? Accent and all? Well, here’s the good news–she does it in spades. The action, the bod, the butt-kicking, the British accent, the bod–it’s all there. But that (and the occasional quip from ever-good Taylor) are all the film has going for it. Because everything else, every brief trace of fun or action–has the life sucked out of it by the preposterous and just plain stupid plot. Don’t get me wrong–I like mindless action as much as the next caffeine freak. But this film doesn’t just want you to turn your brain off, it wants you to dropkick it into your neighbor’s backyard swimming pool. In fact, based on the character set up for us in the first half of the film, the second half of the film just flat should NOT have taken place. Character motives are inconsistent, and I hate myself for saying it–but the gratuitous shower scene is the highpoint of the piece.

Can it really be that bad? Well, yeah. There are two extended sequences with large room-sized puzzles that must be figured out in exactly the right way, and the conceit for them is cool enough–but they play out in the silliest ways. See if you agree with me: that the huge model of our solar system in the final act of the film is left over from The Dark Crystal.

It’s sad that what looked to be a fairly fun action flick is nothing but unimpressive shite. Notice that the killer robot’s name is Simon and the “evil” Tomb Raider’s name is West. Take the clues as to the true source of evil in the film… and stay away. And for God’s sake, why was the line, “You’re the tomb raider” said even once, much less multiple times?

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